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PZL I-22 Iryda

Twin-Engine / Twin-Seat Advanced Jet Trainer Prototype

Poland | 1992

"Money troubles and a crash of a preproduction example limited the Polish PZL I-22 series advanced jet trainers."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/22/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In an effort to upgrade its existing, aging stock of TS-11 twin-seat, single-engine jet powered trainers, the Polish Air Force pushed forward a new program in 1976. Once again PZL-Mielec was charged with local design, development, and production of the aircraft to which the requirement was met with the I-22 "Iryda". However, amidst budget issues and the crash of a pre-series example, the program was limited to just seventeen aircraft before formal cancellation ensued.

In the post-World War 2 period, the nation of Poland operated under a communist political system, influenced heavily by the Soviet Union, until the nation regained its complete independence and sovereignty in 1989 with the fall of the Soviet Empire (1922-1991). This meant that the Polish aircraft inventory was made up either of local designs or of Soviet-originated designs - the TS-11 and I-22 being brought along through the former.

A first-flight of an I-22 prototype was had on March 3rd, 1985. The aircraft's form followed tradition of the period - high-mounted wing mainplanes, tandem seating for its crew of two, and a side-by-side turbojet arrangement. The engines were aspirated by half-moon intakes seated at either side of the fuselage, exhausting through individual ports. The cockpits were seated aft of a radar-less nosecone. The tail unit held a single vertical fin with low-mounted horizontal planes. A tricycle undercarriage was used.

As completed, the aircraft exhibited a length of 13.2 meters, a wingspan of 9.6 meters, and a height of 4.3 meters. Empty weight was 10,145lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 16,540lb. Power was served through 2 x PZL K-15 series turbojet engines developing 3,307lb of thrust each. Performance specs included a maximum speed of 585 mph, a range out to 745 miles, a service ceiling of 45,000 feet and a rate-of-climb of 8,000 feet per minute. As it stood, the I-22 was a subsonic development capable of speeds just under Mach 1 but offering a good classroom for jet pilot training. It is also conceivable that the base frame would have served in a light attack role at some point as well.

Despite the promising nature of the I-22 program, its fate was sealed with the crash of a pre-production example - the cause blamed on excessive flutter brought about by pushing the aircraft's performance beyond its stated limited. Couple this with mounting budget woes in the post-Soviet era and the I-22 would only see limited service with the Polish Air Force. Its formal introduction arrived on December 22nd, 1992 but its official service life would end as soon as 1996 as the line was completely retired.

Just eight I-22 aircraft managed to operate with the Polish Air Force before the end.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the PZL M93K Twin-Engine / Twin-Seat Advanced Jet Trainer Prototype.
2 x PZL K-15 turbojet engines developing 3,307lb of thrust each.
584 mph
940 kph | 508 kts
Max Speed
44,948 ft
13,700 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
746 miles
1,200 km | 648 nm
Operational Range
8,000 ft/min
2,438 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the PZL M93K Twin-Engine / Twin-Seat Advanced Jet Trainer Prototype.
43.4 ft
13.22 m
O/A Length
31.5 ft
(9.60 m)
O/A Width
14.1 ft
(4.30 m)
O/A Height
10,141 lb
(4,600 kg)
Empty Weight
16,535 lb
(7,500 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the PZL I-22 Iryda family line.
I-22 "Iryda" - Base Series Designation; seventeen total examples completed.
M93 - Related variant
M93K - Related variant
M96 - Related variant
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the PZL I-22 Iryda. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 17 Units

Contractor(s): PZL Mielec - Poland
National flag of Poland

[ Poland (cancelled) ]
1 / 1
Image of the PZL I-22 Iryda
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The PZL I-22 Iryda Twin-Engine / Twin-Seat Advanced Jet Trainer Prototype appears in the following collections:
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